June 17 (Sun) 1945, off Truk/Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia [Part 1]

Last Tuesday [June 12], proceeded to sea in company with [HMS] Implacable, Ruler, the 4th Cruiser Squadron [HMS Swiftsure, HMS Argonaut, HMS Black Prince, HMS Euryalus, HMNZS Gambia], and 24th Destroyer Flotilla, comprizing [HMS] Tenacious, Termagant, Troubridge, Teazer and Terpischore, our objective being the Jap[anese] held island of Truk, once an enemy base in the SW Pacific. It was by-passed in the advance to the Philippine Islands but has been under almost daily aerial bombardment by the US Air forces ever since.

IWM A29463 Truk
Firefly aircraft of the British Pacific Fleet had just loosed their Rocket Projectiles to score direct hits on Moen Radio Station, Truk. Image copr. IWM A29463

The operation and our force were designated respectively Inmate and TG 111, Rear Admiral Brind flying his flag in [HMS] Swiftsure. Air exercises were carried out during the two days (T-2 & T-1) spent in reaching the strike area. We arrived there, about 70 miles to the SW of Truk, early on Thurday morning [June 14]. At first light, Implacable flew off a strike of about 20 aircraft – Seafires, Avengers, & Fireflies. Soon after this was completed, we were turned out to a Repel Aircraft Alarm. The Bogey was however identified as an Air/Sea Rescue Catalina patrolling the area. Two hours later, another strike was flown off, and the first landed on. This routine was continued throughout the hours of daylight, a total of 6 waves being sent off. Casualties were one Seafire, lost on operations, and 2 Avengers which fell into the sea on taking off. The crews of the latter were rescued by Destroyers. Two Fireflies and one Avenger were slightly damaged by enemy “flak”. No air opposition was met by our attacking planes, and Airfields, aircraft, Radar installations & gun positions were bombed & straffed with fair success.

At frequent intervals throughout the day, the A/S R [Air/Sea Rescue] craft was cause for for alarm reports, & our fighters were constantly investigating. The crew of the Catalina must have been impressed, & probably a little worried, by the attention paid them.

During daylight hours, a two watch system was in force, but after dark, this was broken down into 1 in 4. Night intruder patrols were sent off by [HMS]Implacc, the last landing on again soon after midnight. One Avenger drove into the sea over the carrier bows. Searchlights were quickly organized, and survivors were rescued by a Destroyer. When we left harbour HMS Ruler carried on board one only Walrus for rescue work. Unfortunately, this aircraft was blown overboard in a strong wind at night, which left the carrier without any useful purpose in life.

 

April 6 (Fri) 1945, Colombo, Ceylon/Sri Lanka

Yesterday, the only item of interest was an R/P [Rocket Projectile] attack by Fireflies on our wake. I was sitting on the end of the AX [quarterdeck] when this commenced but soon departed for the shelter of Y turret. Noon Position:- 8° 15’N, 72° 05’E.

IWM Colombo
Colombo Harbour, RV Pitchforth, 1945. Image copr. IWM Art.IWM ART LD 5088

Early this morning, we parted company from [HMS] Implacable & the two destroyers, and commenced full power trials, a speed in excess of 30 knots being attained. Land was sighted at 0940 & we anchored outside the [Colombo] harbour entrance for some time. The view from the ship was not attractive, though maybe if it had been a fine day with plenty of sunshine it might have been better. At 1050 the pilot arrived & we proceeded to enter a very crowded-looking, dirty, small harbour. Once inside we had to more or less turn about & secure alongside HMS Ceylon, a “Figi”Class Cruiser, in berth 20, Starboard side to. This was successfully accomplished with the minimum help from a couple of tugs. All ships in the harbour were secured to buoys fore & aft in long lines. The only other HM ships of note were [HMS] Caradoc & Pathfinder but by nightfall, Ships in Company included [HMS] Implacable, Tumult, Terpischore and Chaser.

March 28 (Weds) 1945, Gulf of Suez

IWM A11474
A whaler’s crew of Able Seamen, 1942. Image copr. IWM A11474

Tuesday morning, weighted and proceeded out into the Gulf of Suez for Exercises. Carried out a mediocre 4″ HA [High Angle] Shoot at a sleeve target and later fired two torpedoes from the port tubes, one of these doing a cold run. Recovered the torpedoes and returned to same berth, anchoring at Approximately noon. During the Dogs, shore leave was granted and I gather that the sights were not worth seeing. Today we just swung round our “hook”. All leave was cancelled at midday & we were all set to shove off at dusk. We were supposed to go in company HMS Implacable & the Destroyers [HMS] Tumult and [HMS] Terpischore, but unfortunately the carrier was run aground coming through the canal during the afternoon and our departure was postponed. This morning, before they were properly awake, the midshipmen did some Stout work in the 1st whaler. The exercise alone was most beneficial.